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tv   Nightline  ABC  March 8, 2012 11:35pm-12:00am EST

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♪ tonight on "nightline" -- enemy within? a "nightline" investigation. the american radicals next door. they could be your neighbors. the anti-government extremists, now spreading across the country. we go deep inside this secretive world to show you what happens when the sovereign citizens turn violent. and xxx-files. bringing princess lay ya, and that green creature to life. it's out of this world. just outside sin city. plus, life after whitney. tonight, her cousin, dionne
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warwick speaks for the first time on what happened that day. inside a family torn apart by grief and bound together by faith. good evening. i'm cynthia mcfadden. tonight, living outside the law. they are the anti-government extremists next door, who believe the laws don't apply to them. no driver's licenses. no taxes. and according to a report out today, these types of so-called hate or anti-government groups, grew explosively last year in the u.s. one of the biggest jumps, seemingly average people who call themselves sovereign citizens. a loose confederation of americans who can turn violent and have. here's abc's dan harris can
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tonight's "nightline investigates." >> reporter: the federal government considers them a, quote, extremist anti-government group. >> i challenge this jurisdiction as a sovereign. i'm not an american citizen. i do not recognize -- >> what if i advise you to not -- >> i am my counsel. >> reporter: sovereign citizens, people who believe the laws of america do not apply to them. >> they have their own driver's licenses. they have their own hunting licenses. they have their own physical permits. >> reporter: violence has gotten this group a lot of attention. but these incidents are really just the tip of the iceberg. >> 911? >> i'd like to report a shooting. >> reporter: this is a movement estimated to be 200,000 strong and growing, in every state in america, whose members argue they are really patriots. defenders of freedom in a country with an increasingly tyrannical government. to find out if these people are motivated by love of liberty, or as their critics say by greed,
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anarchy and bloodlust, "nightline" went deep inside a notorious press-shy movement. we started here at a diner outside tampa, florida. hi, everybody. how's it going? the first impression was striking. these are not what many of us would expect anti-government extremists to look like. they're diverse, middle-class, educated, and convinced that the government is out of control. >> put the cuff on me. and he tightened it up. i brought my right hand up. you have to loosen these cuffs or you're cutting off my circulation. >> how dare them? >> reporter: most instances, they are nonviolent. but not all of them ruled it out. >> i don't want to come here with this bull crap about trying to impress the news, or impress abc news how friendly we are. i don't give a crap how friendly anybody is. if they come at me with a gun, i've got a gun, too. okay? that's what i'm about. >> reporter: next, we found ourselves at this small church
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in center point, alabama. donald joe barber, the pastor here, invited us inside for a rare look at a meeting with his congregation of sovereigns. in your view, do you need to have a driver's license? >> no. >> reporter: do you need to have license plates? >> no. >> reporter: what about taxes? income tax? >> no. >> reporter: why not income tax? >> because i don't live in the united states. >> reporter: where do you live? >> i live in the nation of alabama. >> if you are describes a domestic terrorist, any agency can arrest you for a domestic terrorist. they can put you away in some holding place until you die, under that law. >> reporter: the way you describe it, this government is out of control? >> absolutely. >> reporter: do you think we're living in a police state right now? >> yeah. >> reporter: why do you think so? >> well, they have all the rights and you have none, from the beginning. >> reporter: barber, who is a former photo copier salesman, has made himself into a scholar
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of sovereign ideology. a hobbling together of passages from obscure law books, along with parts of the constitution and the bible, all to justify flouting the law. people all over the country are using sovereign theories to justify failure to repay their debts and to occupy foreclosed homes. and when police, prosecutors and judges stand in the way of a sovereign, like donald barber, they often resort to a sovereign weapon, called paper terrorism. flooding officials with paperwork. donald barber demanded money from this judge. >> it was a demand for $4 million in gold. >> reporter: filed a $15 million lien against this judge. were you angry? >> i was -- i went ballistic. of course, i was angry. >> reporter: and barber sent a letter to this police chief saying, you getter bet out of dodge while the getting is good because a new sheriff is about to ride up on you. >> worried that maybe they are
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going to follow through, with all accounts of a kidnapping threat. or they're going to come after your family. >> benjamin franklin stated there should be a revolution every 20 years. we're a long time past due. >> reporter: do you think we need a revolution now? >> i think we need a revolution, but not a violent one. >> reporter: sovereign citizens do have a history of turning violent. terry nichols, co-plotter of the oklahoma city bombing, a sovereign citizen. >> did you see the plane? or were you caught off guard? >> reporter: joe stack, who flew his plane into an irs building in austin, texas, a sovereign citizen. and then, jerry and joe kane, a father and 16-year-old son, who used to drive around the country, teaching people to use sovereign legal theories to get out of debt. >> i don't want to have to kill anybody. but if they keep messing with me, that's what's going to have to come out. >> reporter: when they were pulled over in west memphis, arkansas, in 2010, joe kane
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burst out of the car with an assault rifle and killed two officers. >> oh, my [ bleep ] god. >> reporter: the kanes were later cornered and shot to death in the parking lot of a walmart. >> a call comes over my radio that says an officer down. and then, it said, two officers down. >> reporter: police chief, bob powder, rushed to the scene. >> i run up the hill and one of my sergeants stopped me. police, don't go up there. i knew it had to be brandon. >> reporter: brandon, the chief's son and fellow officer, was dead. >> it was the most horrific day in my life. i never experienced pain like that. >> reporter: had you ever heard of sovereign citizens before? >> i had never heard the sovereign citizens before. we have sovereigns, what are we going to do? >> reporter: now, bob goes around the country, teaching law
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enforcement about sovereign citizens. we found two sides of this movement. donald joe barber, about to go on trial, and facing decades in prison. cast sovereignty in a heroic light. >> i can't do any less. >> reporter: but for bob powder, who lost his son, sovereign citizens are domestic terrorists who must be stopped. >> the pain is still there. it will always be there. but it certainly gives me satisfaction knowing that probably we're saving lives that some other family won't have to go through this. >> reporter: for "nightline," this is dan harris, in tampa, florida. >> our thanks to dan for that excellent report. coming up, aliens sighted in the nevada desert. could it be true? we boldly go there, straight ahead. ♪ [ male announcer ] how could a luminous protein in jellyfish,
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>> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city, with cynthia mcfadden. there are many who would find what is going on in the nevada desert just plain wrong. and others who would think it's just plain funny. but a third group might say it's just good business. it is certainly not of this world. abc's david wright goes to carson city, to take a look at the latest twist, at the world's oldest profession. >> reporter: remember "the x-files"? >> what do you think we're dealing with here? >> i don't know. >> reporter: well, think of this as the xxx-files. >> space, the final frontier. >> reporter: boldly going where captain kirk may have gone before. but not many others.
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>> where i long to be. >> reporter: a place where sci-fi geeks' wildest fantasies can become reality. for a price. you can dress up like captain kirk? >> yes. >> reporter: and go and sleep with the blue woman. >> and you could be with princess leia. >> reporter: from "star wars." >> that's not so bad. >> and i hope to get carrie, a friend of ours, who has been to the bunny ranch, for the grand opening. >> this is my new home. area 51. we're calling it area 69. >> reporter: denny hoff, the owner of the moonlite bunny ranch, is expanding in an unexpected direction. >> it's a gas station. it's a truck strap. a convenient store. >> reporter: and a brothel. >> and a brothel. the cat house. >> reporter: in a landscape that
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looks like tatuine, he imagines the brothel will be something like the bar from "star wars." ♪ it's still under construction. but hoff has big plans. >> this is captain kirk's room. >> fire. >> heidi fleiss is trying to get captain kirk's chair. >> reporter: from "the starship enterprise"? >> yeah. >> reporter: hoff's muse and partner in this enterprise, is his friend, heidi fleiss. >> i think it would be cool for people to take a picture. >> reporter: like the actual chair? >> yeah. >> the motion for the new trial is denied. >> reporter: the former hollywood madame, fashions herself as the alien madame, down to designing and ordering the costumes and props. >> you have to go "avatar." some sexy thing like "avatar." sexy aliens. you don't want to look scary.
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>> reporter: nobody wants to leap wi sleep with the alien from "alien." >> no. you want sexy avatar. >> reporter: this is full 3d. >> i've had an amazing reaction from all the people in this scene around the world. when is it going to be open? >> can we have darth vader and storm troopers? >> yes. your imagination is the only limitation. >> reporter: use the force? >> yeah. use the force. yep. >> reporter: there's something about being in costume, hoff says, that allows people the freedom to explore different sides of themselves. >> the biggest sex organ is right here. it's all in our head. it's not as much physical as it is mental. people want to be someone else, for a night. they want to live the experience and not be responsible for their actions. >> it's guilt-free. >> reporter: as long as you're dressed like captain circumstance. >> of course.
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you're not dressed like captain kirk. you are captain kirk. >> it's all about having a good time. it's about making someone happy. >> reporter: i can't imagine there is no shortage of they-sayers. "star trek" lovers saying "star trek" is sacred. >> it's fun to have these people against you. >> reporter: they-sayers or not, dennis hoff thinks there will be plenty of customers. the bunny ranch attracts lots of guys, like howard, from "big bang theory." >> you could be out with a real woman tonight. >> bernadette? >> no. princess leia. >> reporter: whose fantasies trend towards "battlestar galactica." >> a lot of our business is gamers. because of computers and games, men sometimes don't develop the social skim skills they used t. >> reporter: these guys may need
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the confidence-boost that comes from a costume. >> the trekkers are going to line up for miles. >> reporter: and if the aliens ever do come to area 51, just imagine what they'll think of us. i'm david wright, for "nightline," near 51, nevada. >> and a happy international woman's day to all of you, as well. coming up, for the first time, whitney houston's cousin, dionne warwick talks about that terrible night. and the faith that has sustained her family ever since.ation, not quite knowing what the next phase was going to be, you know, because you been, you know, this is what you had been doing. you know, working, working, working, working, working, working. and now you're talking about, well you know, i won't be, and i get the chance to spend more time with my wife and my kids. it's my world. that's my world. ♪
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and finally tonight, whitney houston. her cousin, singer dionne warwick, has new insights into whitney's tragic last day, which she shares for the first time with abc's robin roberts. >> reporter: in the weeks since her sudden and unexplained death, memories of whitney houston are still as strong as the faith that carried her home to the church where she first song in the choir. >> we agree that there was this feeling, this promise, that if somehow we listened carefully, god's voice would somehow come to us. >> reporter: that faith, a constant for someone who has been there for whitney since the start, dionne warwick. >> don't grieve for me. for now, i'm free. >> reporter: they were more than friends. they were cousins.
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>> you know, deionne, the last time we sang together -- >> reporter: they were frequent collaborators. ♪ >> reporter: here, singing in 1985, on the show "solid gold." and again, just last year, at clive davis' pregrammy gala. ♪ that's what friends are for >> she was the little girl i never had. >> reporter: today, on "gma," deionne spoke for the first time since that terrible day. when was the last time you spoke to whitney? >> i spoke to whitney the day she died. spoke to her that morning. she was so up and ready. happy. i mean, she had everything in the world to live for. you know? >> reporter: we learned that in her will, whitney houston left her entire estate to her only child, bobbi kristina brown. the 19-year-old will have to wait until she's 30 to inherit
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everything. financially, she will be supported. but emotionally -- >> that's the one thing i love about my family. we are a family. so, she has support that she actually has. >> reporter: as for dionne warwick? she says she is finally starting to heal. >> i am -- i'm heading towards being okay. i think the comfort comes in knowing that she's in good hands now. she's in the best hands right now. she has greeted and been greeted, not only by the heavenly father. but my mother, her aunts and uncles, her father, her grandmother, her grandfather. so, she's very well right now. >> reporter: through it all, faith has never been far from this family. for "nightline," i'm robin roberts, in new york. >> our thanks to robin. and thank you for watching abc news. be sure and watch "nightline"


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